Halle: Teenager Alexander Zverev caused a major shock as he beat eight-time winner and top seed Roger Federer in the Halle grasscourt semi-finals on Saturday.
Error-strewn Federer’s vulnerability on his favourite surface could perhaps be explained by a back injury that made the 34-year-old miss last month’s French Open, but this was not the build-up to Wimbledon that the Swiss ace wanted.
The 19-year-old Zverev triumphed 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-3 to reach only his second ATP Tour final after being beaten by Dominic Thiem on clay in Nice last month.
Roger Federer reacts after losing a point to Alexander Zverev in Halle on Saturday. Pics/AFP
The German could yet meet world number seven Thiem, 22, in the final again this time as the Austrian faces another home player in Florian Mayer in Saturday’s second semi-final.
The veteran Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, won the last three Halle Open tournaments but he met his match in the spirited World No 38.
Just over a week before the start of Wimbledon, it was the second semi-final defeat in a row on grass for the World No 3 after Thiem beat him in Stuttgart last week. Federer hasn’t won a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2012 and given the form of World No 1 Novak Djokovic, Federer’s current level would unlikely see that run come to an end.
The 1.98m (6’6”) Zverev is already guaranteed to improve his career-high ranking in Monday’s new list to inside the top 30.
Zverev finished with 39 winners and eight aces.